Lists are classics at the end of the year: Christmas lists, resolutions for the coming year, and annual wrap-ups such as Top Three Most Watched YouTube Videos, Top Five Awkward Francois Hollande Moments 2014, and, of course, Top Ten Tech Stories 2014. Lists are all time favourites of journalists to provide a quick read for people who want to be informed but don’t want to go in too deep. They are snappy pieces of content that are to the point and therefore super popular.
Of course, really, lists are only ever an adequate way to cover issues that are simple and straightforward enough to be presented as something as trivial as a list. Which tech stories normally are not.
Still, in honour of the tradition – and mainly because these stories don’t deserve any better – here come my 2014 top five most hated tech stories, the ones I can do without in 2015:
1) Apple watch launch date/price/use speculation
Speculations around the launch of Apple watch mainly revolve around a single question; Will it be a success? Because it happens to be Apple’s latest product – the media chant in unison – it HAS to be a massive success. People will buy it and they will love it! And that’s all there is to the story. No other product has received less coverage with actual reference to functionality and user benefits. Related to the question of success are speculations about the price. Because in the Apple universe the successful launch of a new product can be equated with asking an outrageously high price and getting away with it. I hope we get a short break next year before speculations about the next Apple product begin. And about the release date: I will believe it when it’s actually happened!
2) The Internet of Things is the next big thing, says XYZ
XYZ kick starts the Internet of Things with new function / product
We know. And it’s comforting to know that they do, too, and are getting mentally prepared for a world in which ‘machines talk to each other’. Until then I’d rather read about in what ways this is happening, by which I mean articles on specific industries that already integrate M2M communication in their working process or use sensors that gather data for real time monitoring. This is a complex and many-layered process that takes time to develop. Sure, there will be pioneers who drive the process but I suspect that there will be no one game changer.
3) Google Glass on the brink of going mainstream
We’ve been waiting for Google Glass to go mainstream for almost two years now but to date I haven’t seen a single person with Google Glass on the streets. That’s probably because I don’t live in California but apart from geographic partiality: The price is too high, the functions so limited due to privacy concerns that no single reviewer has felt compelled to recommend the purchase wholeheartedly. And that’s ok. Product launches fail, who hasn’t been there? We were waiting for Google Glass to turn into a game changer we could get excited about. It didn’t happen. Time to move on.
4) Facebook buys start-up for $XXYYZZ bn!!
Facebook is spending huge sums of money on start-ups that are as overpriced as the company itself. It lies within the logic of the system that creates overpriced tech companies. The price is interesting because it tells us something about power of projection and the direction the industry’s heading. Other than that I should think that the strategic decisions behind buying a certain start-up and integrating their service would make a more exciting story. These numbers don’t tell me anything when they’re not put into context. Maybe I simply have difficulty following the business decisions that Facebook makes…
5) Apple vs. Samsung patent wars go into round XYZ
A classic but also the most boring story in the world and one we’ve had to endure for what feels like 15 years. It never goes anywhere. The lack of development has actually become the whole point of the exercise, which is so sad that I can’t bear to read about it. Hopefully, the most recent appeals won’t last another two years. Moreover, Apple has to turn its attention to the new challenge posed by Xiaomi’s more obvious patent infringements next year and I suspect we’ll be reading about that lot soon.